When introducing the concept of utilitarianism, Mill divides life into superior ones and inferior ones. He also develops two dimensions to measure pleasure – quality, and quantity. In Mill’s book, he argues given the fact that human beings are intellectual creatures, we ought to pursue a higher level of happiness, which is not merely confined by sensual pleasure. Inferior creatures, like beats, they can be satisfied by bodily happiness, however, our human beings’ intelligence and dignity would drive us to pursue the quantity of pleasure.
I would like to raise an objection here to what Mill argues about how human dignity confines us to pursue mere bodily pleasure. I think in order to make Mill’s argument valid; one premise is granted that every human is capable and has already gained the bodily pleasure so that he/she won’t desire the sensual pleasure that has been satisfied. However, the fact in the real world is that people who live in different countries undergo different economic statuses. Maybe for people living in developed regions, hunger is a foreign word. The pleasure of filling the stomach can no longer satisfy them. Then they naturally will pursue the quality of pleasure. To the people who live in less-developed regions, they lack sufficient food, education, and natural resources. Under such circumstances, their human dignity yields to their nature of gaining sensual pleasure first. Though human beings are intellectually superior to animals, there are still animal instincts remained on us. Only when our animal nature of pursuing mere sensual pleasure is fulfilled, can we start to have the ability to value the quality of happiness over quantity.